Europe Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Recent Spam Attacks
    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 Boston to Le Marche - which airport?
  2. 2 Ireland in April-Day trips from Galway base
  3. 3 Budapest in December 2017
  4. 4 Traveling eperience and the difficulties involved
  5. 5 Venice, Florence - too many museums.
  6. 6 Urgent- Pleaseee HELP - Spain, Italy or France for Xmass and New years
  7. 7 4+ days in Lisbon over NYE, should we visit Sintra?
  8. 8 Acropolis Athens
  9. 9 Korean Messages
  10. 10 5 Days in Switzerland
  11. 11 Barcelona - How much Gaudi?
  12. 12 Bernese Oberland + Luzern 4 days
  13. 13 H10 Urquinaona Hotel in Barcelona
  14. 14 6-7 Days in France
  15. 15 Trip Report Ger's Trip to Rome & Bologna
  16. 16 Another tipping question: concierges
  17. 17 New Law Regarding Vacation Rentals in Paris
  18. 18 Trip Report We're here!
  19. 19 Input on Itinerary for Visit to Bavaria and Austria Fall 2017
  20. 20 Getting to Bolivia
  21. 21 Dresden: How Many Nights?
  22. 22 Rental Car for Day Trip from Antalya to Pamukkale/Hierapolis?
  23. 23 Swiss Travel Pass
  24. 24 Swiss Trip Itineraryand Charges
  25. 25 Ferry - Dubrovnik to Bari - Cabins
View next 25 » Back to the top

Trip Report Rome 2015- A Spring Break Adventure!

Jump to last reply

Day 1- Travel day from Sweden to Rome- Saturday before Easter Sunday.
Spring break in Rome! Here begins our eight nights in Rome story. Our family of four (2 adults/2 daughters age 12 and 13) set off from Sweden on Lufthansa before noon and had a two hour layover in Munich before the next flight to Rome. We ate a light fresh fruit and yogurt snack and a coffee in Munich while waiting. We arrived on time in Rome at 5:30 p.m. and went directly to the waiting driver. I did prebook the driver through our apartment owner and the driver had messaged us earlier to say where he was waiting. A short walk to his car and we were off to the city. We each had a carryon bag so it was off the plane and to the arrivals area. It was an easy trip in to the city and took less than 45 minutes to the Campo di Fiori neighborhood. The driver parked outside the apartment and walked us to the door and helped buzz us in to the waiting manager. Our trip to the city cost 50€ and we paid the driver in cash. (We learned it’s handy to have lots of cash on hand in Rome as many restaurants, smaller museums or boutiques take no credit cards.)
We booked an apartment in the Campo di Fiori neighborhood on the Piazza Paradiso which is closer to the busy road, Corso Vittorio. (We heard no traffic noise from this road while in our apartment.) The apartment was located down a tiny walkway en route to a the Hosteria Costanza and right next to the Hotel Lunetta. Our apartment was called the Casa di Paradiso Loft and owned by an Italian family. We were buzzed in and climbed up two short flights of stairs to another locked door which was a small entry to the Loft and the owner’s other more expensive rental apartment called the Casa Paradiso. The manager, Stella, showed us around. She spoke little English but we communicated everything we needed to. After she left we took a further look at the apartment which was on two levels. The apartment had been recently renovated in Italian style with tile floors in the kitchen and bathroom, oak floors and oak trim throughout and according to the photograph display in the hall outside was quite a project. The first level had a dining table in the middle of the room with a small sofa. There was a decorative fireplace and some other small furniture in the room which were more or less became landing spots for our keys and guidebooks. Around the corner was a tiny kitchen but had all the amenities- full size Smeg dishwasher, Smeg gas cooktop and oven and decent sized fridge. This level had one window in the main area looking down to the outside entry and a tiny window in the kitchen.
We climbed upstairs to the second level which was more of an open floor plan. To the left of the stairs was a small sofa with coffee table and tv with satellite and English channels. Next to that was a queen bed and then a large closet with hanging rack waaaayyy up high and shelves for clothing storage and a small safe which we appreciated. On this level was the one bathroom with shower, toilet and bidet. In the bathroom was a nook was the laundry machine, drying rack and ironing board. We used the laundry machine twice so were happy to have that. Up a small spiral staircase was a loft that had two normal sized twin beds where the girls would sleep. The second level had many more windows and was more light-filled than the first level which felt a bit dark. The girls would open their curtains to see the large domed top of the Sant’ Andrea della Valle church which was right next door to the apartment and offered some marvellous bell ringing at all hours of the day.
Since the following day was Easter, and it was now close to 7 p.m., we thought best to set out to the grocery store before they closed for the evening. The apartment included a map of the area and we quickly found a Punto Grocery Store around the other side of the church and down the road. We grabbed a trolley and filled it up with breakfast foods, pastas for light suppers, fruit, veggies water and wine. The four of us had our hands full with bags and went back to the apartment and unpacked. I cooked a dinner and we all hit the hay pretty early that evening as the day of travel was tiring even though we came from Sweden.
Our queen bed was super comfy. I pulled an extra pillow from the closet to use as the pillows were a bit flatter than my taste. The girls were happy with their arrangement upstairs. I specifically booked this apartment because it had real beds for the four of us rather than sofa beds that many of the other apartments offered for four people. (I don't think a sofa bed should count as a bed and they are rarely comfortable and usually always in the way..IMO.) This apartment for eight nights cost us 1350€ and we would definitely stay here again.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 2- Rain and Meandering
    While the day before was sunny we woke up to rain today. It was Easter Sunday. We had no specific plans today and would wake up and get going sightseeing when we felt like it. We ate breakfast, filled up on coffee and set out on foot toward the Piazza Venezia by about 10 a.m.. First stop was to buy a couple of cheap umbrellas from a vendor. From the Corso Vittorio road by our apartment it was a 10-15 minute walk to the Piazza Venezia. We thought that would be a good place as any to get start to get the lay of the land in Rome. From where the Piazza Venezia meets the Via del Corso we got a good look of the “Wedding Cake” of a monument Tomb of the Missing Soldier. We crossed over the road to the monument and climbed up to the top of the steps and went inside and through to the back of the monument that had wonderful views of the city. By this time the rain stopped. There was a very nice outdoor cafe here to take a coffee that we did not go to but is worth a mention because of the views. From here we could see the Colosseum. At the top of the monument we went inside the Sta. Maria in Aracoeli church.

    After that tour, we continued meandering and went toward the Pantheon area. We ended up walking down a street that was filled with cafes and waiters trying to lure us into their restaurant. One friendly guy succeeded and soon the hungry four of us were eating pizzas, bruschetta and salad caprese. We opted for dining in rather than sitting outside and good thing because it started to pour outside after a while. After lunch we set off again in the rain. Something recent had come up at DH’s work and he had to get back to the apartment for an afternoon conference call and work. (It turns out he worked from the apartment quite a bit and the main floor dining table was a godsend as he could work in the evenings or late at night on the computer or on phone calls without disturbing us sleeping upstairs.) I kept the map and the girls and I found our way to the Pantheon. We were bombarded by the guys selling selfie sticks but buzzed right past them. We visited the Pantheon twice and this first time got to see the rain coming in through the hole in the dome top. The floor was roped off as it was wet and slippery.

    After walking around the Pantheon we set out toward Piazza Navona which is very close. We marvelled at the statues and all the people out and about on this rainy Easter day. It appeared that most everything was open on Easter- or much more than I envisioned when I was doing my trip planning. The Santa Agnese i Roma church was right there at Piazza Navona so we went inside to “warm up”. We sat and reflected and didn’t feel the warmth so decided to go back to the apartment. I’m not sure what time it was but we were chilled to the bone at this point.

    We relaxed and then set out again to see what we could find in the way of a grocery store for Easter dinner fixings as I decided we did not buy enough the day before. So the girls and I set foot to the larger inCoop store we had seen on the Corso Vittorio. On the way there we passed the Piazza Argentina that I had read about and had no idea it was so close to where were were staying. The girls and I stopped to see if we could see any of the cats that live there and we did see a few walking amongst the ruins. On the way to the store we stopped in at our favorite cheapy store, Tiger. Open on Easter and packed with people! I was surprised. After that we made our way to the store and picked up some organic chicken, romanesco veggie and and who knows what else. We prepped our dinner at the apartment, DH and I tried the wine and all hit the hay. The apartment had a nice bookshelf that included leftover guidebooks of Rome which I appreciated and paged through them at night.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 3- The Colosseum, The Forum and Palatine Hill

    This morning we were up earlier because we had pre-booked a tour of the Colosseum. We were very happy because the sun was out and it would be sunny for the rest of the trip. We set out after 9.00 a.m. and walked through the Campo di Fiori towards the river walk to the Colosseum. We followed the river past the synagogue and over to the Circus Maximus. We walked around this area and came up beside the Palatine and up the Via di Gregorio to the Colosseum. Our English tour was for 11.20 but we were supposed to be there by 10.50 to pick up the tickets. By this time it was around 10 a.m. We walked to find the entry and saw THE CROWDS TO GET IN! Easter week and this was the first of the crowds and lines we would encounter. We walked around and tried to figure out which line to stand in as all were very long and there were no official Colosseum workers setting order to the chaos only unofficial sales people trying to get us to buy their “skip the line” tickets. I wasn’t sure we’d make our 10.50 deadline. Out of desperation we went to the “group and school” line to see if there was an outside chance we could sneak in with a group. I already purchased the tour tickets and wasn’t about to fall into a sales trap of buying another four tickets to in order to skip the line. We were denied by the security guard so we ended up standing in a large group of people trying to get in one direction. A salesman came to us and said no, you need to be in THAT line. He pointed and I did listen to him and we moved to a moving line. He must have forgotten about us and came by some minutes later and asked, do you already have tickets? Yes, I said, oh, then you need to be in THAT line. He pointed to a much slower moving line. I said, but you already told us this one! No thank you! He huffed off. We stayed put and kept patience and actually got through the line to the entrance by 10.30 which gave us time to get into the line inside the entry where we would pick up our tickets to the tour. We found that the outside security did not actually check to see if you had tickets but they just checked your backpacks or purses so in actuality it would not have mattered which line we stood in- moral of the story- choose the fastest moving line!

    The inside ticket line went quickly and were were at our waiting spot for the English speaking tour 10 minutes before it started. We lucked out and had a small 10 person tour that I booked through the official Coop . it website. (Not to be confused with the grocery store.) It was two families of four plus a couple- 10 people. The guide came and she was very friendly and full of energy. We started out on the Colosseum Underground and ended up on the Third Tier. It really was thrilling to walk out onto the viewing deck and be the only people there (because of our tour). It was only one tour group allowed at a time on the viewing decks. I don’t know why but that is how they did it. The second couple that joined us actually came a bit late because of the lines but the guide was very gracious and kept ringing the front desk to see if they arrived yet. I think our guide went longer with us by an extra 30 minutes at least. I highly recommend an official tour. We did not see any non-Coop tours go into the locked areas such as the Underground or to the Third Tier like were able to. I highly recommend booking through Coop.

    I forgot to stop by the loo before the tour so after the tour I was in desperate need of finding a toilet facility and the only one in the Colosseum was was on the other side of the exit. We skipped that in favor of heading to a restaurant. We were hungry at this point and made our way to find some lunch before we were to walk to the Forum and Palatine Hill. We walked across to the Via dei SS Quattro and ate outside at the corner restaurant Pasqualino al Colosseo. DH ordered a tuna salad with egg. One child ordered a lasagne and the other a Bombolotti pasta. I ordered a pasta with bacon, peas and mushrooms. Food was okay, not great- needed some salt or flavor. The drinks cost were not on the menu but sodas and water were an additional 20€ to the bill so this meal was pricey!

    Lunch gave us the energy we needed to walk the Forum and Palatine. DH needed to be on a phone call and luckily had his hands-free headset and daughter’s portable mobile charger with him. The Colosseum tickets included the Forum and Palatine Hill so we wanted to see those the same day. I lost track of time before the trip and never booked a Forum tour which was okay by us in the end because we would have been toured out. We meandered around up and down that area. We started out at the Forum but in hindsight probably would do The Palatine first since after we looked at the Forum we ended up backtracking to get to the Palatine. Not that I don’t want to walk but with all the walking we did it’s all about preserving my feet! haha! More ooohs and ahhs! Great views and incredible history at every turn!

    The sun continued shining and we walked down the Via dei Fori Imperiali toward home. Tons and tons of people out but it was a festive atmosphere. We arrived back to the apartment. My “dogs were killing me” and I couldn’t wait to get my flat feet up. Dinner was in this evening.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 4 The Vatican Museum- Skip the line!

    Today’s goal was the Vatican Museum. I had pre-booked both tickets and lunch here this day. Even with the pre-booking of lunch we were able to enter by 9 a.m. is so desired. After the 20 minute walk from our apartment I think we got there after 9.30 and as we came from the St. Peter’s Square side the lines were snaked all the way down the side of the museum towards the square. Oh boy, how would we figure this out as it appeared you would have to stand in line for hours! Never fear- a trusty salesman approaches and asks us what language we speak. He rattles off several and finds out we come from Sweden and gives us his spiel in perfect Swedish. I figure the salesman go from selling selfie sticks/umbrellas and if they are really good they get to do what this man does. Again- his sales pitch was to “skip the line”. Again- I had pre purchased tickets and was not going to buy an additional four tickets from anyone. So we politely said, no thank you and proceeded past all the people to find the entrance. Walking, walking, walking to find the entrance. There was an actual outside file that took us past the hordes of people in line and to the entrance. Another log jam. We got into the line that read, “Online booking and Cashier” or similar. This one went pretty quickly and we were in by about 10 a.m.. We had to put our things through security. I advised daughters to leave their small backpacks at home since I read they could not take them in but it was only a security check and they actually could have carried their small backpacks after all.

    We went to the ticket window and got organised. After that, first stop, the loo. DH thought he may have to leave for a call and more work so suggested the girls and I book an English speaking tour. I inquired and they were sold out so we opted for a guidebook instead. I was happy in hindsight since DH was with us the entire duration and the crowds would have made for an unpleasant tour.

    We started out in the Pinocoteca and then to the Stamp museum, then the Gregoriano. The beautiful mosaics from Caracalla were there. The crowds were minimal compared to what we’d soon find. We milled outside a while as it was beautiful and then went to find the restaurant for lunch. We didn’t want to venture much farther as it would have meant backtracking through the museum to get back for lunch. I pre booked the lunch for noon but we buzzed in there at 11.30. That was no problem getting served then as there was no line until later. The ticket said one hour for lunch so I expected a sit down type of place with set menu but in actuality it was a counter service. I had a porketta and some pasta and veggies, big bread roll tiramisu and water. Food was expensive and just okay. In hindsight would not need to prebook this but who knew? Later an espresso from a coffee bar before getting started again.

    We decided to head directly to the Sistine Chapel. We soon got into more crowds and were suddenly like sardines meandering our way up and down and over and in and out. There was no room to stop and marvel at the Wall of Maps or whatever else. We were outdoors looking at the pinecone statues and took some fresh air. We would have hopped off and looked closer at the Contemporary Art but felt compelled to stay with the crowds to the chapel. Finally after a couple of hours we made it! I had visited Rome and the museum before but had not real recollection of that from more than 30 years ago! The chapel was filled with people. It was lovely and beautiful but too many people! The guards would quietly say SILENCIO! if the volumes got too high. I would like to take a moment to show my kids the art from the guide books again since we felt a bit stressed after this and I’m not sure they appreciated or understood the magnificence of the paintings there.

    After the chapel we bee lined it out of there for some air! We opted out of seeing St. Peter’s that day but I did see the secret tour group door which wasn’t so secret. I had one more stop on the day’s agenda and that was to pick up tickets for the Papal Audience the following day. I had to find the Bronze Doors on the right of the colonnade at St. Peter’s square. After we rounded the back of the museum and along the walls back to St. Peter’s I noticed a blue gate with some guards standing inside and a few tourists. I saw the guards were handing the tourists something that I figured were tickets to the Papal Audience. Outside the gate was ANOTHER SALESMAN who asked us if we would like to see St. Peter’s Basilica. I said I was there to pick up tickets and he told me this area was off limits. So I said, OK! And marched past him to talk to the guards. :) I showed them my letter from the Pope’s right hand man, Georg, and they said that since I had a letter I may get a different type of tickets and would need to go to the Bronze doors to get them.

    So we found the line for people with letters was just around the corner. It was only about 2.30 at this point so I was early but hopped in line. Only one family member was allowed in line at a time so my family went on their way. I stood in the line for over an hour until I reached a point where the Italian guard let me around a corner to the steps of the Bronze Doors. People were surely in line way earlier so I’m not sure what time they opened up in actuality. I rounded the corner and found another line of 10 people out of sight of the first line. Wait, wait, wait…….I reached the top and the Swiss guard handed me an envelope with tickets for our family- the same color purple that I could have gotten from the first Swiss guards I talked to over an hour ago! Another American lady was there and furious as she had the same color tickets too. So…...the letter was a guarantee of tickets but no special tickets which was a bit of a disappointment. And, the tickets would not even guarantee a seat. Was all this info on other posts? Who knows but live and learn. As it turned out, we were fed up with lines and waiting and did not go to the Papal Audience the following day. I was not up for getting up at 6 a.m. to be guaranteed a seat (or not). Oh well!

    I walked back to the apartment and had a big drink of water and probably a nice glass of wine and put my feet up for the evening!

  • Report Abuse

    Day 5 Wandering over The Borgo neighborhood
    We woke up fairly early and the night before said, if after waking, anyone really wanted to rally to see the Pope we could certainly make our way over and see how it was for seating but didn’t have to do this at 6.30 a.m. We skipped that all together in favor of gelati! I read about a gelateria called Gelateria dei Gracchi that served 100 flavors of gelati. I looked at the map and found both the Gelateria and a store my daughter wanted to visit, Brandy Melville, were in the same neighborhood so we headed over to the Borgo neighborhood on the St. Peter’s side of the river. It was pretty residential with nice looking low level apartment buildings and with one big shopping street, the Via Cola di Rienzo.

    Today would be a great day for gelati before lunch and we wandered up and down and then up and down the dei Gracchi street looking for this place. First we found the Brandy Melville store so we went in and bought a few things for the teenager. After that we landed on a gem of a lunch spot. It was a pizzeria-bar-tavola calda lunch counter called the Ottaviani dal Roma on Via Paolo Emilio 9. I ordered a variety of few things I wanted to try: spinach pizza (folded over flat), pulpi (the rice in the beautiful crispy shell) and carciofi Roma. The kids ordered pizza and I ordered a potato pizza for my husband. The pizzas were the kind they slice off by size your order and heat up in an oven. A few sodas and a beer and we ate outside. The counter man came and offered cappuccinos after lunch.

    After lunch we set back out for dessert, the gelato. My husband finally got out his iPhone to check the map. We must have past the place several times on the first round but found it. Much to my dismay they had only like 20 flavors. I look at my notes now and the 100 flavor cafe was by the same name and close to the Spanish Steps! We never did make it but everyone was happy with their selections. There was a VERY DARK chocolate fondant flavor that made it into the cups several times.

    We wandered some more and then back to to the apartment. It was probably 4 p.m. by this time. We are not late night people so decided to venture out for dinner early this evening before the crowds. DH was not into going to any random restaurant and I did have a few names in my notes. I selected the Cul de Sac enoteca as this evening’s choice. This place was mentioned by MaiTaiTom in a trip report and as he has seemingly good food taste I thought it would be worth a visit. I liked the idea of small plates and huge wine selection and so did DH. It was a 3 minute walk from our apartment to the restaurant. We weren’t the first ones there but there was also plenty of seating in this small narrow restaurant. We were up for adventure and let the waiter guide us in selections of wine. I wanted to try a couple so ordered by the glass. We opted for a local full bodied wine called Amarosco from the Lazio region. At the same time we placed our food order. We wanted to try many things so ordered many! 1. Three types of pate- peasant, sweet-sour wild boar (with chocolate inside), and a venison with pepper. 2. topika- the chick pea pastry 3. A single roman style beef roll 4. Local Cheese platter 5. Local meat platter 6. Pizzocchetti pasta and beautiful crusty bread. LOTS of food for the four of us but so fun to try everything. My kids are good sports and will try everything- not necessarily love it like we do but at least they try. My second wine was a full bodied from Puglia. Loved both the wines as did DH. The kids had colas. This meal was delicious and we loved the place. Tiny, narrow like being in a boat with shelves and shelves of wine bottles above with little safety nets hanging beneath to catch them just in case they fall. They boast 1000 types of wine? Great service and good atmosphere. By the time we were finished there was a line outside. I think they put their names in but the place was hopping! Stuffed to the gills we strolled around before heading home for the evening.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 5 Wandering over The Borgo neighborhood

    We woke up fairly early and the night before said, if after waking, anyone really wanted to rally to see the Pope we could certainly make our way over and see how it was for seating but didn’t have to do this at 6.30 a.m. We skipped that all together in favor of gelati! I read about a gelateria called Gelateria dei Gracchi that served 100 flavors of gelati. I looked at the map and found both the Gelateria and a store my daughter wanted to visit, Brandy Melville, were in the same neighborhood so we headed over to the Borgo neighborhood on the St. Peter’s side of the river. It was pretty residential with one big shopping street, the Via Cola di Rienzo. Today would be a great day for gelati before lunch and we wandered up and down and then up and down the dei Gracchi street looking for this place. First we found the Brandy Melville store so we went in and bought a few things. After that we landed on a gem of a lunch spot. It was a pizzeria-bar-tavola calda lunch counter called the Ottaviani dal Roma on Via Paolo Emilio 9. I ordered a variety of few things I wanted to try: spinach pizza (folded over flat), pulpi (the rice in the beautiful crispy shell) and carciofi Roma. The kids ordered pizza and I ordered a potato pizza for my husband. A few sodas and a beer and we ate outside. The counter man came and offered cappuccinos after lunch.

    After lunch we set back out for dessert, the gelato. My husband finally got out his iPhone to check the map. We must have past the place several times on the first round but found it. Much to my dismay they had only like 20 flavors. I look at my notes now and the 100 flavor cafe was by the same name and close to the Spanish Steps! We never did make it but everyone was happy with their selections. There was a VERY DARK chocolate fondant flavor that made it into the cups several times.

    We wandered some more and then back to to the apartment. It was probably 4 p.m. by this time. We are not late night people so decided to venture out for dinner early this evening before the crowds. DH was not into going to any random restaurant and I did have a few names in my notes. I selected the Cul de Sac enoteca as this evening’s choice. This place was mentioned by MaiTaiTom in a trip report and as he has seemingly good food taste I thought it would be worth a visit. I liked the idea of small plates and huge wine selection and so did DH. It was a 3 minute walk from our apartment to the restaurant. We weren’t the first ones there but there was also plenty of seating in this small narrow restaurant. We were up for adventure and let the waiter guide us in selections of wine. I wanted to try a couple so ordered by the glass. We opted for a local full bodied wine called Amarosco from the Lazio region. At the same time we placed our food order. We wanted to try many things so ordered many! 1. Three types of pate- peasant, sweet-sour wild boar (with chocolate inside), and a venison with pepper. 2. topika- the chick pea pastry 3. A single roman style beef roll 4. Local Cheese platter 5. Local meat platter 6. Pizzocchetti pasta and beautiful crusty bread. LOTS of food for the four of us but so fun to try everything. My kids are good sports and will try everything- not necessarily love it like we do but at least they try. My second wine was a full bodied from Puglia. Loved both the wines as did DH. The kids had colas. This meal was delicious and we loved the place. Tiny, narrow like being in a boat with shelves and shelves of wine bottles above with little safety nets hanging beneath to catch them just in case they fall. They boast 1000 types of wine? Great service and good atmosphere. By the time we were finished there was a line outside. I think they put their names in but the place was hopping! Stuffed to the gills we strolled around before heading home for the evening.

  • Report Abuse

    Interesting report. Sounds like a LOT of lines. But I'm not sure you can blame it on Easter week. I was in Rome the week before that and it was just as crowded as you describe. I was also there in July and it was certainly as crowded as summer ("high season"), perhaps more so. I asked the guy in my hotel and he said Rome is pretty crowded all the time these days - in March the difference from July is that all the Romans are there as well as the tourists - in Summer more Romans are off on holidays or to their summer homes. I asked how that would explain lines at tourist sights and he wasn't sure, just overall. Anyway, in July the Colosseum was just as you described it. And in March the line for the Vatican Museum was just as you described it. I also tried to go in November as few years ago and gave up after my hour and a half on line I wasn't even half way there. I think you absolutely must buy tickets in advance (or go with one of the ticket guys you mention that work the lines). For the Colosseum though, buy tickets at the Forum or Palatine Hill entrances works well.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 5 Continued- The Borgo and Piazza de Popolo

    Oh heavens! I left out our afternoon stroll on Day 5! So after shopping, lunch and gelato, we strolled over from The Borgo to Piazza de Popolo. I tell you, we walked EVERYWHERE and all over Rome by the end of our trip! We didn’t take the bus or a taxi once! My husband, after taking a sort of look at a map, has a keen sense of direction and is very fluid in how he takes himself through a city meandering here and there. That we we really got to see A LOT in comparison to my approach. Me- I have a map glued to my hand and do these very straight forward “gotta get there quick” walks. We found it SO EASY to get around in Rome that we didn’t need to worry about getting off track because we could find our way any way. And with ease, I felt very safe as well. Sure, there are many small winding paths but eventually we got to where we were going. We did have a benefit to spending eight nights in Rome so decided we could be on a relaxed pace and to not be on a mad “gotta see everything now” vacation.

    From The Borgo we just followed the Via Cola di Rienzo street and crossed over the river at the bridge Margherita straight to the Piazza del Popolo. I guess I didn’t give this place a thought before coming to Rome but after being there I would say make sure you visit this Piazza! It is big, wide open and lively and really something to see! We strolled to the center and soon came a bike tour of perhaps 20 college-aged bicyclists. They did a couple of planned loops around the center and came to a stop near us. We continued out of the piazza past an entertainer doing something with giant soap bubbles. Another fun experience.

    We meandered (we did a lot of meandering) down Via Babuino shopping street. I liked this street very much and DD1 and I popped in an out of a few boutiques while DD2 and DH rested on steps of Sant’ Antanasio church. My daughter found a unique spring jacket at the Roy Rogers boutique. It wasn’t a western boutique at all even with the name- Roy Rogers, but contemporary classic Italian design. The Via Babuino took us to the Piazza del Spagna and the Spanish Steps. It was booming with people all around. Sunny day- they were lined up and down the steps. We climbed to the top and took some pictures. We had just eaten and and weren't hungry but a drink would have been nice. There was a nice rooftop cafe next to the steps. We didn’t go there but it looked like a nice place for a drink! We walked carefully down the steps. DH was worried that I might trip and fall as I can be a bit clumsy but I managed just fine. I would not like to do that walk on a rainy day, however. Some of those steps are worn with deep grooves.

    Now we started making our way back to the apartment. Our feet were certainly good and tired by this time and I’m pretty sure I took a power nap before our meal too!

  • Report Abuse

    Day 6 -Lazy Morning- The Via Veneto-Borghese Park-Gelati (A long day report)

    I woke up earlier than the rest of my family and decided today would be a good day to visit the famed bakery, Forno, on Campo di Fiori plus stop by the market to see what I could find. After all, our apartment was right around the corner from the market. It was after 8 a.m. and things were buzzing already. It was also garbage day and since we were renting the apartment for the week we had a bit of garbage and recycling to get rid of. The laminated note in the kitchen read that garbage was collected every day except for Sundays but each day was something different: Monday burnable, Tuesday compost, Wednesday paper, plastic, glass etc. etc. It seemed complicated to me after living in Sweden where the trash is picked up twice a month and you bring everything else to the recycling station and sort your own there. We only had one color and type of plastic garbage bags in the apartment and no receptacle outside to put it in. I noticed most people set the garbage bags on the curb but when I went out I didn’t see any bags on our little street even though there were people living in our building. So I ended up carrying my bag over to the Campo di Fiori and saw an empty bin and dropped my trash in there. I half expected someone to start shouting at me but that didn’t happen. Well, I was keeping Rome clean after all! The thought of leaving trash on the curb without a bin was foreign to me. What if dogs or cats or RATS went digging around making a mess? But aside from the Piazza Argentina I never did see any strays or critters roaming around- which is a good thing!

    So off to the Forno bakery. I was the only customer at that time and selected some pane and asked for cornetto but they were sold out. After the bakery I bought some strawberries from a vendor. I thought about buying a cheapo ROMA sweatshirt for DD2 and asked the price- 15€. I would check to see the going price elsewhere- turns out they are 10€ in the Piazza Navona. She was not too interested in a sweatshirt so we didn’t buy one anyway but it pays to look around or maybe negotiate a price if you can.

    By the time we got going from the apartment it was 11 a.m. DH was okay with that since it gave him more time to do some work before heading out for the day. The apartment had a framed collage on the wall of pictures of famous paintings around Rome. One was of some Caravaggios that interested DH so today’s goal was back to the Piazza del Popolo so we could go to the church there for a viewing. Along the way we thought to stop by the Pantheon so DH could see it and also the neighboring church, Santa Maria in Minerva. I really wanted to see the blue ceiling that I saw from pictures and it was beautiful in real life!

    Then off we went to the Pantheon. The sun shining sure gave it a different look inside. On the way in to the Pantheon we were swarmed by SELFIE STICK SELLERS! I wanted to take a picture of the sellers at work but felt then they would expect money or something so avoided that by ignoring them but I also wanted to break out into:

    I do not want a selfie stick!
    I do not want them here or there!
    I do not want them anywhere!

    We marvelled and talked about how when the Pantheon was being built the “cavemen of Vikings” were probably out picking berries in the forest and that if they came from the Nordic countries to Italy they would have been mistaken for some ogres or something! This makes me want to check my history tables but Italy was already so civilized in comparison to what was happening up in North.

    to be continued...

  • Report Abuse

    continuation...
    After the Pantheon we walked through the Piazza Colonna and toward the Trevi Fountain. We knew it was under renovation so it was not a goal to get there but we landed on it anyway during our stroll. There were metal scaffolding and a bridge set up so you could walk over and look at the work being done but we didn’t see the point. The piazza was busy with people and much smaller than I thought it might be from the movies. We continued over and ended up walking up the Via Veneto. It was a lovely spring day and the trees were blooming on that street. Being on the Via Veneto, I envisioned Sophia Loren to come zooming by in a convertible but that never happened.

    Since we ate an early breakfast and had a late start we were getting hungry. We came around a curve to the hill and stumbled upon this place: http://www.bottegaitaliaroma.it/
    There was a lovely patio with many tables and we managed to snare a table for four just before the lunch rush. The pictures on the website don’t do justice to the cafe/restaurant/market/butcher/gelateria….I loved the Interior design and attention to the design detail at this restaurant and little shops within shops concept. It reminded me of just the sort of interior an American restaurant owner would hope to imitate if they were doing an Italian place in the States. We ordered a fresh fruit platter, kids ordered pizzas, we each ordered fresh fruit drinks and I can’t remember what else but it was a really nice relaxing lunch. It appears this restaurant is also connected to a monastery open for booking- the Casa per Feria i Cappuccini. After lunch we continued up the hill and past some of Via Veneto’s 5- star hotels and other restaurants.

    We ended up walking to the Borghese Park with no destination in mind within the park. DD2 suggested we find a park bench to sit and relax for a while. We didn’t have a park map but landed near a running track of sorts where we watched a trainer working out with his two lady clients. We listened to a jazz musician and watched families in their rental carts biking around. Time to get moving again and for the first and only time we got lost getting back. Somehow we ended up behind a horse stable and on the wrong side of a motorway. We kind of took a wrong turn but all sorted itself out in the end.

    On the way back we came down we ended up on the Pincio Hill overlooking the Spanish Steps and the city again. There were many lookout points along this route on the Hill and it was very pretty. We walked past the Villa di Medici and continued on the Viale de Annunzio until we were at the top overlooking the Piazza del Popolo. We went down the steep stairs to the Piazza and that church Sta. Maria del Popolo to see the Caravaggios but when we got the church was closed. Oh bummer! So we did the walk past the Spanish Steps again and back toward home. Everything was still bustling- the shops, cafes and streets. We really enjoyed the pedestrian walk ways and finding little gems of streets, shops and cafes here and there.

    We finally got back to Campo di Fiori and decided we were ready for gelato. After the first day of sightseeing we tried the gelato place right outside our door in Piazza Paradiso. Another day we tried the place on Via Gracchi but today we wanted to try a place called Flor that was closer to the Campo di Fiori. Artisan, I guess. All natural, no colorings, no hydrogenated fats….I opted for two flavors: tiramisu and the black cherry vignola. The kids alway selected either fruit or the darkest chocolate (almost pudding like in texture). I hadn’t been wowed by the gelati yet but then comes the FLOR gelato and, oh my gosh! So good! So good! http://www.gelatiflor.com/site/gelato-2/?lang=en

    Call it a day. We went home and put our feet up and then prepped a late meal.

  • Report Abuse

    Thank you LC! Yes, we sure did!!

    Day 7- Fever- Galleria Spada- Churches- Shopping on the Via del Corso

    We had two sightseeing days left before having to return to Sweden so wanted to fit in what we might have missed so far. We woke up at a decent time to find that DD2 was not feeling well and also had a fever. I sent her back to her bed in the loft and found a bucket to put near her- just in case…. So today’s plans would be slightly altered in that one adult would need to stay home with the sick child. As usual, DH had plenty of work to do and probably felt relieved when I said he could stay home and DD1 and I would go out on our own. DH had been working quite a bit on this trip since a deal came up last minute and deals have no boundaries in regards to our family vacation. :)

    DD2 and I set out pretty early with our plan. I had been begging to get to the Galleria Spada to see that Borromini Perspective so we started our day there. It was literally 2 minutes from our door to the palace. Admission for DD was free and I paid 5€. We went to the courtyard to see the Perspective walkway but it was filled with students and a teacher giving a short lecture so we decided to head upstairs to look at the 16th and 17th C art. I think it was one floor with several large rooms. Each room had it’s own brochure in different languages to we each took one in English and looked up anything of interest for more information. An older lady was “guard” and since we were the only people looking at that time she followed us around from room to room. It felt like being in someone’s grand old palace. The art was lined from floor to ceiling on the the walls. And some art was stacked against the walls wrapped in bubble wrap. I noted to daughter that there was one teeny tiny fire extinguisher in a corner. Not sure how that would save the lot of art but at least they had one. After looking we went back out to the courtyard and there was one other couple looking at the perspective. Borromini created quite an amazing illusion. The galley is sloped and looks 37 meters long but is really only 8 meters and the sculpture figure at the end looks lifesize but is only 60 cm. tall. We studied it from close to distance and decided to head on our way. Sticking to our neighborhood we decided it was time to pop into our neighboring church, St. Andrea del Valle, located right on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The church was completed in the 1600’s and I believe the dome is the third largest in Rome- just after St. Peter’s and the Pantheon. The church is so ordinary from the outside (as many look to be) but inside was just magnificent! It’s just so hard to believe that these creations are open to the public and free to go inside and ooh and ahh! Like how did the painters get up to the ceilings and domes to do their works of art back in the 1500/1600’s? Baffling!

    So Mom got her cultural fix and DD wanted to go back to the Via del Corso and see some of the shops she missed on our prior walks. So we walked over toward the Piazza Venezia and turned left on the the Via del Corso. We walked past the Galleria Pamphilj that I decided I would have to save for another visit. DD had her mind set on sunglasses so we popped in and out of several optical shops. The salespeople were very nice and let her try on anything she wanted. DD hadn’t a clue but her tastes geared toward the 1400€ styles so much to her dismay I had to say no. Even the Ray Bans were more than I wanted to spend at 140€ and I said we could buy them in the States when we are there this summer and perhaps get them cheaper. But the Italians sure know how to do their eye glasses! And they seemingly had every Ray Ban style known to man on the shelves. We popped in an out of several shops geared to teens. She got back to the Subdued boutique which, right on the Via del Corso, had a unique inner courtyard to pass through to get to the rest of the boutique. Then to Brandy Melville and Sophie Charlotte. She picked out some cute things and it was soon time for a toilet break.

    We passed Rome’s answer to a department store whose name is escaping me right now. They had sunglasses and the salesgal was on my daughter like a fly offering different styles and none worked. It was very warm in the store so time to find the public toilet. Toilets are free and clean in Rome. I had with a pack of tissue just in case but we never had a problem finding them. In the mall was a large bookstore on two floors called Feltrinelli. I thought we could go in to see what kind of bags and pencils they carry. We love bags and pencils! Eastpak from the US was popular in Rome and the pens/pencils were the same Faber Castell brand we find in Sweden so we kept moving. The bookstore had a cafe upstairs. Cafe la Feltrinelli, so we thought it was a good time to take a lunch break. I had a zucchini soup with a crouton and the host drizzled olive oil on top. We both ate a spinach panini. It was just right topped off with an espresso. I looked at the menu and was curious as to what all the different coffees were- Caffe’ Colonna, Marocchino, Macchiato, Americano and Caffe’ Corretto.

    After lunch and the shopping it was time to get back to see how the family was. When we arrived we found DD2 up and feeling better. I didn’t have my phone with me and they perhaps could have gotten out earlier so the two of them took a late afternoon walk while DD1 and I rested.

    to be continued…..

  • Report Abuse

    Good to know Andyrenee! Mine are with prescription and progressives at that so I haven't a clue what the "base" price was.


    Day 7 Continued- Dinner at Hosteria Farnese

    After a couple of hours, DH and DD2 came back from their walk. DD2 wanted to get another look at the Colosseum from the outside so they walked through Trastavere to get there. Now it was getting close to dinner time. We decided to do a night out since we hadn’t had enough together time this day. ;) No, I really wasn’t in the mood to cook and we only had two night lefts in Rome in which to try real Roman cooking. (Boo hoo!)

    I had written down the Salumeria Roscioli as an option. The menu looked interesting and it was on the top of my list before going to Rome and as luck would have it the restaurant was in our neighborhood. We had passed by a couple of evenings prior and I took a peek inside. It’s a deli and restaurant with limited seating. For some reason I passed on booking a table. I don’t know why- maybe because it looked a bit dark and tiny and I wasn’t sure if it was right with the kids. I did a bit of researching on the net while the other two were on their walk and came across the Hosteria Farnese which is also located in Campo di Fiori neighborhood. We decided to get ready and head over there.

    Hosteria Farnese was not directly on the square but a few shops away from the Forno bakery so I knew how to get there. I loved that everything was so close and right in our ‘hood! So we were the first people to arrive and the two waiters and cook staff were still eating their dinner but quickly finished up and made us feel welcome. This place was had about 10 tables and some with reservation notes on them. We started out with the house wine- a bottle for 11€. Not bad at all! We asked for recommendations for the meal- DH ordered the carciofi (artichoke) and then the evening’s special, a cod in tomato sauce. DD2 and I ordered the other special, Spaghetti vongole (which arrived with plenty of nicely steamed clams) and I also ordered the saltimbocca. It wasn’t what the waiter recommended but I was curious about this dish. Would the flavors “dance in my mouth”? DD1 ordered a pizza. Funny how kids never tire of pizza! DH was very happy with his selection. I enjoyed my pasta and while I liked the saltimbocca I don't think I tasted the sage at all and did not get that dancing feeling. Maybe I was expecting something different.

    We were thinking about dessert. Should it be at the restaurant or a gelato from our new favorite, Flor? The dessert case was literally right next to us so DD got up to take a look. The nice waiter (could have been his family’s restaurant) came and gave us a description of what was behind the glass. it all looked homemade so we opted to take our dessert there. We each ordered something different: I ordered tiramisu since I had read it was the best in town. The rest ordered the profiterole, warm chocolate cake, and panna cotta with caramel sauce. We did a little sampling of each other’s food and the panna cotta was the winner but the warm chocolate cake was a good second. The tiramisu, while good, was a bit too dry for my liking. One daughter didn’t finish her dessert and the waiter came and offered the other child a spoon to help her out. He made an effort so we tipped well that evening! Dinner was complete and I would definitely dine at Hosteria Farnese again. The staff was very friendly and atmosphere felt like a family establishment.

    We walked through Campo di Fiori and did some window shopping on the way back to the apartment.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks everyone for reading! I have a couple more posts to finish up so it's not over yet......


    Day 8- Roscioli bakery- St. Peter’s Basilica- Caffe Eustachio and more

    Today would be our last day of sightseeing before leaving tomorrow. I was up earlier than usual and headed off to the Antico Forno Roscioli (the Roscioli bakery) to check a Cornetto off from my bucket list. http://www.anticofornoroscioli.it/

    I don’t remember which came first, the Salumeria Roscioli deli/restaurant or the Antico Forno Roscioli but both are owned by the same owner, both highly regarded, and both in “our” neighborhood. Score! From our apartment the bakery was right around the corner and a few shops away down the street. Soooo convenient!

    I was one of the first patrons in that morning. Paper bags lined the store filled with fresh loaves of bread ready to be picked up by the restaurants (I assume they were for restaurants due to the quantity in the bags). Other morning breads and treats were in the cases. I asked for quattro Cornetti chocolatto. I had no idea how to ask for it in Italian so did my best! The person behind the counter went to the back and came out with four giant cornetto(i). I had never tasted one before so didn’t know if they were sweet or bread-like so asked for four bread rolls to go with. We had some leftover peach preserves (that were delicious) which made a nice topping for any bread. The total for my breakfast goodies was €5.66. I paid and was on my way back to the apartment.

    We roused the family for breakfast and we all took our first bites of our cornettos. I read later that cornettos can vary in how they are made. While they look like a croissant (sort of) this one was much less buttery in flavor and more flaky. I read that they actually have more butter than a croissant, so go figure! The first bite was close to heaven. This cornetto had a slight glaze on the top and inside was a golden pale orange color. The pale orange gave way to an orange essence of flavor. Then came the chocolate! It was a wonderful blend of flavors. The chocolate was actually Nutella, which I am not a fan of, but it was very good blended with this orange. DH thought his was overpowered by the Nutella and he scooped out some of his and finished the rest of the cornetto. The kids gobbled theirs down too. I’ve tried Google to find information about orange infused cornetto but haven’t had any luck finding anything. I wasn’t sure if this is standard or something special this bakery makes. In Sweden we have a chocolate treat called “Romerska bågar”. The translation is off but they are flat orange shaped slices of orange infused chocolate. Now we know where they came from.

    By now it was after 9 a.m. and since today was our day to see St. Peter’s Basilica it was best we get going early. We set off on foot around 9.30 a.m.. Another gorgeous sunny day! We certainly lucked out this trip with the weather! We took the stroll leisurely and before 10 a.m. we arrived and got in line. It was a Saturday and the line snaked from the Security Check Point to ALL the way around the square to the other side. We had no choice but to get in line. There were signs saying the entry closed at 12.30 that day so we were wondering if we’d make it in time but the lines actually moved fairly quickly. I brought bottles of water, we chatted and after a while the girls and I stepped out to find the toilets before entering the Basilica. We knew where they were from the other day so DH and I had the girls go together first while we held our place in line. The girls got back so I took my turn and got in the line for the toilets. A group of tourists didn’t read the signs (written in their language) and blew past the queue to enter through the exit side. The toilet attendant got very fierce and barked at them in Italian and they sheepishly took their place in line with the rest of us. By the time I got back to my family the line had moved up and it was just a short distance to the security checkpoint. We removed purses, backpacks and I think our jackets and put them thru the machine. Walked through security and paused to take a look at the square from this vantage point on our way into the Basilica. I wanted to see what the Pope could see since we missed him on Wednesday. There were chairs lined all around for the upcoming service. The entry line was still snaked around the square -but we were in!

    It was very large and very beautiful inside as one could imagine. We entered into a side chapel used for prayer. Peaceful and quiet. We walked past a permanent memorial of a priest that appeared to be embalmed laying in a glass cased casket. We saw a similar memorial at another church and I didn’t understand who or what that was about. There was a service going on in the main Basilica for what appeared to be visiting priests and nuns from around the world. We listened to the service (didn’t understand what was going on) and listened to the music. Soon the service was finished. There were ropes and security guards that had cordoned off the front section of the church so we couldn’t be very close. The music piped louder and dozens and dozens of robed-clad priests filed out. The music got softer and stopped and then the nuns followed. I wondered why the priests got the fanfare and not the nuns? It got me thinking…. DH and I whispered quietly to each other about churches and power and money. We browsed around some more and left after about 30 minutes. I know- people spend hours in there but not us. It was an option to climb the steps to the dome but we opted out. I thought about the neighboring church to our Rome apartment, Sta Andrea delle Valle and thought that was equally beautiful to the St. Peter’s Basilica. A size difference, but just as beautiful.

    By now it was time for a coffee. Next on my personal bucket list was a cafe I had seen in passing from our rainy first day in Rome, the Sant’Eustachio Caffe. The link is in several languages but I like the look of Italian so here it is:

    http://www.santeustachioilcaffe.it/

    From the outside it looked like a smallish stand-up coffee bar kind of place and the people were lined out the door. At that time I was with my girls and since were we cold to the bone we opted to go home. After the Vatican, I was happy to make it back since I read that it is one of Rome’s oldest and most established coffee bars- supposedly the best espresso in Rome. I knew where to find it so from the Vatican we walked down the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and took a left at the Benetton store. It was just down from there to the Piazza St. Eustachio. Since the day was beautiful we opted to find a table outside. The tables were reserved for table service and we felt like being served rather than standing up. Some tourists didn’t see this large yellow sign on the tables saying “reserved for table service” and plopped themselves down after going inside for their coffees. The single waitress was busy politely shooing those people from the tables. She brought over a menu which we took a look at. All sorts of choices, all pictured on the menu but not much in the way of descriptions or sizes. There were too many coffees to ask about so DH and I blindly made our selection which happened to be the same. It took a while for the coffees to arrive and they came on a silver tray with sugars and spoons and each a glass of water. Much appreciated! DH and I ordered something similar to a cappuccino but not. It was served in a larger than espresso sized mug and had some milk foam on top with cocoa powder. No, not a macchiato… don’t know. I later saw some Italians ordered a warm coffee drink in a glass mug. This was not pictured on the menu so wonder what they ordered. It pays to be a local, I guess. The coffees went down quickly and I here’s where I miss the American bottomless pot of coffee. haha. The girls each had a frappino?- cold, sweet and frothy. Not to be confused with a frappuccino which is an icy drink. I now know where Starbucks got their idea from even though I couldn’t make sense of the sorts the Eustachio served. It was an expensive coffee stop but leisurely and a nice atmosphere in the square. I would liked to haved tasted more coffee and less foam for my money. Next time... :)

    to be continued…..

  • Report Abuse

    Finecheapboxofwine this is a very nice trip report. I am planning on going to Rome for Christmas this year and we also have about 9 full days. I noticed you wrote about walking....did you guys ever took the bus or metro anywhere?
    Thank you

  • Report Abuse

    Day 8 continued…. Shop and Stroll

    After our coffees it was time to stroll onward. DD1 wanted to show DD2 the shops she had missed when she was home sick a couple of days ago. So we headed down the Via Corso toward Piazza di Popolo. By now this would be our third trip toward this destination- part of Rome I didn’t think about before. I don’t know- it looked so far away on the map when in reality was really doable in terms of walking.

    The day sunny. A Saturday so the street was filled. We found the shops we were looking for and DD2 found a couple of cute tops. We back tracked past the Spanish Steps again and turned into the pedestrian street, Via Condotti. This was crowded so we turned again onto a really nice pedestrian street, the Via Borgonona. This street included upscale boutiques and a few unique cafes- the kind of a “ladies who lunch” type.

    We continued a slow walk and look-see on over towards the Piazza Navona. By this time we were hungry and decided to take advantage of our last lunch in Rome and select a restaurant on the Piazza. The sun was warm so we picked the shady side of the Piazza. I had no recommendations for a restaurant so our pick was based solely on the menu and restaurant appearance. The “hosts” were out in droves trying to lure us into their restaurant. I believe that there’s so much competition amongst all the different restaurants and cafes that they are happy to snare a customer and actually treat you quite well. Some places were more filled than others. We said, "no thank you" to one and said, "yes" to the next door neighbor called, Tre Scalini.

    We placed our order- DH seafood pasta; me Pizza Bresaola and the girls a pizza each. They ordered sodas and DH and I a beer. It was a beer kind of day! We were seated next to a young Italian couple. The young man was wearing one of those silk neck scarves that could match a silk pocket square if he had one. He was smoking some awful cigar smelling cigarettes. Chain smoking more like it- switching between the smelly to the less smelly. Finally they paid their bill and left before our food arrived.

    For being on the touristy Piazza I expected just “ok” food, that we were willing to sacrifice for the view of the Piazza Navona, but our food was actually very good. DH’s pasta had a generous portion of seafood. I really enjoyed the bresaola on my pizza. It was very tender and was topped with fresh ricola, which I love. The girls ordered a margherita pizza and enjoyed theirs. Getting customers for these restaurants if is kind of “dog eat dog”, but when I saw our pizzas being delivered from the first place we said no to, the neighbouring place, I didn’t feel soooo bad. We had a good laugh because the waiters would stand in the middle of the walk path trying to get people in. They would give each other the eye and then one would beeline toward the most attractive women. Then they lined the path and turn our direction and watched us eat! Entertainment for everyone. Lunch was soon over so we stopped to watch an entertainer in the Piazza before walking back to our apartment.

    Once we got home we put our feet up a while and had to pack for the trip home. I needed to get back to a little boutique I had seen which was across from the Hosteria Farnese in Campo di Fiori. There was a necklace there calling my name and since the boutique was closed the first time I saw the jewelry in the window I would take a second chance. I left the family reading and resting and walked over and the boutique was open. I decided on the necklace which is handcrafted in gold and then weaved in some traditional Sicilian tiny lace pieces. It makes for a lovely summer piece and I was happy to finally find something for me! The boutique didn’t take a credit card but I found a cash machine close by. There are several cash machines on the Corso Vittorio Emanuelle which was so convenient for us.

    We had just a few bits in the fridge to finish up and for dinner so I thought to pop into the grocery to find some lite accompaniment for supper. I passed the Roscioli bakery again and went in to see if anything looked good. An Italian Mom was ordering one of those slices from a larger pizza. The guy behind the counter had a big butcher knife and he hacked off the slice according to her order. After she paid she stood out on the street and ate it with her young son. We had that pizza for lunch so moved on to the grocery. I browsed around and wanted to see if I could find a square long pasta that my daughter ate one day at a restaurant. I didn’t see it so found some star shaped pasta instead. (Nice to have at home to add to broth during the cold season.) There wasn’t anything soooo unique that I couldn’t buy it in Sweden so I didn’t fill my cart with much in terms of food. I selected a few cheeses and some fruit for dinner. After we ate I decided that Italy has the best hard parmigiano and mozzarella but the others didn’t jump out as great.

    We ate our meal and then time to pack up. We were all feeling like it was time to go home. I think we all were super satisfied by this trip to Rome and will definitely get back again. I could even see taking the kids there by myself if the opportunity presented itself. It was that comfortable. But we usually see new places by the time that opportunity arrives so maybe a new destination in Italy to explore.

    We couldn’t have been more happy with our apartment and the location, Campo di Fiori. DH liked the neighborhood because it felt real. It was touristy in some aspects but also felt like a living and working neighborhood. I don’t know how that is in reality but I understand what he was saying. The only downsides to the actual apartment were in the kitchen where the tools were understocked. Would have been nice with a knife more than a bread knife and small steak knife for prep and cooking. Not because I couldn’t use what was there but thinking of safety too. A set of two hot pads would have been helpful especially when emptying the pasta pots. We did use the kitchen a lot and it was well equipped with pots, pans, dishes and cutlery but only missing those other things.

  • Report Abuse

    Day 9 Travel Day

    Our intercontinental Europe flight left from Terminal 3 at noon. I had read that the lines for security can be horrible so didn’t want to chance it and be late. We booked a cab that was waiting for us at 8.00 a.m. A short drive to the airport and we were there before 9 a.m. We checked in and headed for security. The lines were not so bad. Security was actually a breeze! DH said it was the most efficient security check he’s been through! I must have misread about the horrible lines and security or at least it wasn’t for this intercontinental terminal. Well, it was best to be there and we’d would have to wait anyway. We had a two hour wait before we would be able to know which gate so we found some benches and took turns window shopping. Time to board. On-time and off we were to our layover place in Munich. Two hours there and then we were back home in Sweden. Our travel day ended up to be quite long and I would try to find a more efficient way to get to Rome next time.

    Thank you for reading my Trip Report. I recommend all to write a TR as it brings it all together and I now I have it documented. My kids have enjoyed reading it too! Thanks to the Fodorites who gave me advice on transport, pre-booking of the sights and general information. No names mentioned/no names forgotten….

  • Report Abuse

    Some might find it helpful to see what one can pack in a carryon for nine days. Here's my carryon for this Spring trip to Rome. I'm cutting and pasting it from a TR I posted on the Helpful Hints and Tips forum on Fodor's.

    We are a family of four who travelled to Rome for nine days/two of which were travel days. It was Springtime and the weather was around 15 C /65 F during the day. We each packed a carryon and flew two flights within Europe so I knew the luggage compartment space would be small and I didn't want to to be stressed trying to fit my bag. I opted against a roll on carryon for a soft sided shoulder bag for this reason. I was pleased with my packing- selected neutrals and basics and could fit it all in. Here are the contents of my bag:

    3 pants: *1 jeans, 1 stretch jeans and *1 black stretch jeans
    2 cardigans: 1 gray, *1 lacy blue
    1 white blouse that was designed to be "skrinkled together" after washing
    *1 light blue long sleeve wrap sweater
    1 plain gray t
    1 blue flowered t
    1 white long sleeve t for layering or bedtime if I felt cold
    1 white tank
    1 pajamas top and bottom
    1 bra
    4 underwear
    1 pair of shoes
    toiletry kit

    Here's what I wore on the plane:
    Greenish colored stretch jeans
    Blue 3/4 sleeve blouse
    Black tank top
    Black cardigan
    Large scarf designed in warm spring colors that looked nice with everything
    Rain jacket- a last minute purchase that I'm so happy I had with me.
    New Balance shoes- not the prettiest but worked on that cobblestone for my flat feet

    Suggestions for future packing:
    I never wore the lacey cardigan and the black stretch jeans.
    The regular jeans I wore two days and they were starting to look baggy. I recommend packing pants with a bit of stretch as they look and feel better.
    I could have gotten by with wearing one pair of pants and packing two for that amount of time. I actually put the black ones in at the last moment because I had room but didn't wear them.
    I wore the layering long sleeve top and was lucky to have that along for that rainy day as it was pretty drafty and cold in some of the churches and on the streets that day.
    I maybe could have done without the light blue wrap sweater but it was a different look to the cardigans and tops.

    We had a laundry machine in the apartment which we used twice when the laundry bag started looking full. Was very happy to have that available!

  • Report Abuse

    Ticalinda- No, we did not take the bus or taxi at all except for to and from the airport! I was surprised but that's how my husband rolls! And good thing too because we saw soooo much more on foot than if we took transport. I guess it all depends on the traveller and conditions. But, the weather was very nice except for one rainy day so we were comfortable. My feet WERE killing me after a day pounding the pavement but I have problem feet anyway so that was no surprise. I quickly recovered enough to get back at it the next days. I wore New Balance and if I could have found new pair in Sweden in my size before this trip I would have bought them. (Will have to wait till I get to the US for that this summer.)

29 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.

Advertisement